Net migration to UK jumps 30% in a year to 212,000
This is the third consecutive quarter that the net migration – the number coming to live in Britain for more than 12 months minus those leaving to live abroad for longer than 12 months – has risen. The Office for National Statistics said the unexpected rise of 58,000 in the 12 months to last September has mainly been fuelled by migrants from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Poland. Overall figures for non-EU migration show that immigration from outside Europe fell from 269,000 to 244,000.
EU Migration “readmission agreement” with Turkey
Many illegal migrants enter the EU through Turkey. Undocumented migrants from the EU to Turkey or Turkey to the EU would have to be returned under an EU-Turkey “readmission” agreement signed by both parties in December and endorsed by Parliament in February 2014. The return rule would apply not only to EU nationals and Turks, but also to third-country nationals who enter either the EU or Turkey via the other. The EU and Turkey started to negotiate a readmission agreement in 2002, but it only resulted in a deal now that Turkey's demand for visa liberalisation has been taken into account.
Net migration to UK jumps 30% in a year to 212,000
We tend to think of migration in the international context, but a greater scale of migration takes place within a country. China estimates that some 3.6 billion trips will be made during the 40-day period surrounding the Lunar New Year holiday this year. Some are on vacation and business, but most are to return home. Baidu even visualizes this massive internal migration from one place to another on a China map.
People cross provincial boundaries for many reasons – to find jobs, to earn higher incomes, to attain better/higher education or skills, to access hospital and other public services, to join family members, or to escape political instability or violence. Research has shown that, of all these, average wage differences are the most important factor to explain internal migration.
Remittances from migrant workers constitute a key source of finance for developing countries: in 2013, they stood at more than $ 410 billion, more than three times the size of official development assistance (World Bank, 2013). For many economies, remittance inflows exceed 10 percent of GDP. During the recent global financial crisis, remittances also proved much less volatile than other sources of finance, such as bank loans or portfolio investment. Remittances can therefore play an important role in pulling and keeping millions out of poverty.
But what precisely are they key factors driving remittances? For instance, how do they depend on macroeconomic and structural conditions in the migrants’ host country and country of origin? And what are the main barriers to remittances? There already exists a voluminous theoretical and empirical literature on these issues. However, it remains inconclusive, largely owing to limited data, as well as problems in establishing the direction of causality.
KNOMAD Thematic Working Group on Internal Migration and Urbanization will host this event. We very much encourage you to submit a paper and also share this information broadly with your colleagues.
KNOMAD Conference on Internal Migration and Urbanization
Migration, security, and development are inextricably linked. Understanding these linkages is important to correct public misperceptions as well as promote more effective policies; but they have largely defied research and analysis to date. KNOMAD Thematic Working Group on Migration, Security, and Development seeks to articulate an analytical framework on the linkages, drawing on a range of existing empirical case studies.
It is clear that migration, security and development are linked. Policies in one arena can promote positive outcomes in another. For example secure borders are an integral component of well-managed migration, which in turn can help match migrants’ skills to labour market demands, while also empowering migrants to contribute to development in their countries of origin. Equally, and especially where policy is poorly coordinated, unintended consequences can ensue. While numerous factors contribute to the global growth of migrant smuggling, there is strong research evidence that smugglers may profit when border controls tighten, in turn exposing migrants to risk, exploitation and vulnerability.
Remittances have been the main source of foreign exchange supporting Somalia during the conflict for the last twenty years. A recent IMF fact-finding mission to Somalia found that about $2 billion in remittances are handled by money transfer companies. These companies are located throughout the country and they are providing shadow banking services since there are no licensed commercial banks. Somalis called this system “xawilaad” which is the Somali rendering of the Arabic word “hawala”.
Since the events of September 11, 2001, many countries have adopted stringent Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terror (AML-CFT) regulations for funds transfers. Several banks in the US (Wells Fargo, US Bank, the TCF bank, and Sunrise Community Bank) and in the UK closed the accounts of money services business to avoid incurring in penalties for not complying with the new regulations. (Note: HSBC was fined $1.9 billion for not complying with money laundering controls in 2012.)
After a bitterly contested campaign a small majority of 50.3 percent of Swiss voters have passed the referendum “Stop Mass Immigration” reintroducing quotas on immigration from EU countries. This vote on February 9 mobilized 56 percent of Swiss voters, which was one of the highest turnouts for the last 40 years.
The referendum was expected to be close. That it has passed, however, is a surprise because the Swiss government as well as most business actors and political parties, except the national-conservative right wing Swiss People Party which launched the referendum, were campaigning against it. It is hard to generalize the reasons that explain the result of this vote, especially as there were significant geographical disparities in voting behavior across Switzerland (see map). French-speaking areas against the referendum, German-speaking regions divided, and the only Italian-speaking canton firmly in favor of it. And the cantons with the largest cities (Zurich, Geneva, and Basel) were all against the quotas.
While significant progress has been made in consulting civil society in national, regional, and global migration policy debates, it has proved hard to engage the business sector. This is to the detriment of corporate success, effective government policy, and migrants’ rights. The World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Migration focuses on forging alliances between business and government to maximize the benefits of migration.
One reason why business have been reluctant to engage is that in many countries migration has become a ‘toxic’ issue in political and public discourses, and businesses are concerned not to tar their reputations by engaging in this debate. In addition there can be tensions between the respective objectives of business and governments with regards to migration, for example flexible labour markets can be hard to reconcile with national security. To an extent this also reflects different priorities: ultimately business is concerned with stakeholders and governments with voters; businesses need to make profits and governments to win elections. And as a result business and government also have different time horizons for achieving positive results from migration.
Academic research and policy thinking on migration and development are gathering more attention as evidenced by a new conference every month. The latest one was titled "International Labor mobility and Inequality Across Nations", hosted by FERDI in Clermont-Ferrand, France on January 23 and 24, 2014. The conference was organized by Simone Bertoli (Université d’Auvergne), Jim de Melo (University of Geneva), and my frequent co-author Frédéric Docquier (from UCLouvain).
"For a moment I was bewildered. Then Nilambar muttered to the contractor that if we have legs at least, we could walk for the rest of our lives. We told the contractor he could take our hands…"
In the middle of December 2013, Dialu Niyal (30) and Nilambar Dhangda Majhi (28) of Kalahandi, Odisha, paid an inhuman price for a breach of contract. The labor contractors had paid them (and 10 other villagers) Rs 14,000 ($225) each in advance to recruit them for work in another state. When the time came, the contractors tried to take them to a different place from the one agreed, but the villagers were not willing to go to the new place and escaped, except for these unfortunate two. The contractors detained them for a week trying to collect the debt, and in the end, became violent.